Last Updated on
Visiting Lima, Peru? Make a trip from Lima to Huacachina, Ica to see the Peru sand dunes! The Peru desert oasis is a unique, fun place to visit for all ages. We tell you exactly how to get from Lima to Huacachina by bus and the top things to do in Huacachina Ica Peru once you arrive!
When researching best places to go in Lima we stumbled onto something amazing: Huacachina, Ica, the Peru desert oasis.
Huacachina Peru is a small village surrounding a random lake in the middle of the Peru desert. The Peru oasis lake is encircled by native palm trees and a row of hostels and restaurants catering to the international backpackers who flock to the massive sand dunes. The breathtaking landscape of sand dunes right outside your hotel door makes Huacachina one of the most unique places to go in Peru, but the ability to do such unique activities as sandboard, sled, and ride dune buggies across the sandy hills is what makes the Huacachina oasis famous.
The Huacachina oasis sounded amazing, but we were faced with one issue: How to get to Huacachina from Lima!
Book a great hotel in Huacachina before you go:
Book the best Huacachina hotel before you go for a hassle-free vacation!
- This is the top-rated hotel in Huacachina, perfect for families or those who enjoy a little luxury. Includes pool, free breakfast and wifi, and exclusive access to sand dunes
- This highly-rated Huacachina hotel is actually a collection of luxury tents. It’s perfect for those who want some unique adventure on their trip to Huacachina!
- This Huacachina hostel is the best rated in town. It includes a pool, private and dorm-style rooms
How to take a bus from Lima to Huacachina (Ica)
Taking a bus is the cheapest option to get from Lima to the Huacachina Oasis Peru. You’ll ride in comfort and arrive within a few hours! Different bus companies exist which can take you from Lima to Huacachina by bus daily, but we highlight our top two choices: PeruHop and Oltursa.
1. Lima to Huacachina bus with PeruHop:
PeruHop, a tourist bus service providing English-speaking hop-on hop-off bus tours of Peru, is the most expensive but easiest way to get from Lima to Huacachina by bus. While other bus companies drive from Lima to Ica by bus, requiring passengers to de-bus and take a taxi with their luggage the extra 10 minutes to Huacachina, PeruHope is the only bus option to drop you off exactly in Huacachina.
The other beauty of traveing from Lima to Huacachina with PeruHop is that they offer full tour excursions. They will plan your trip including everything from picking you up in Lima, activities along the way, sandboarding in Huacachina, and a bus ride back to Lima. You can choose the one-day trip, 2-day, or 3-day, which would require you to book a hotel room in Huacachina.
Other benefits of PeruHop include:
- Pick up from Lima hotel
- English-speaking tour guide
- Stop at Ballestas Islands
- Available in 1-day trip from Lima or multi-day trip
- Direct drop-off in Huacachina within walking distance of your hotel or hostel
- Sandboarding and dune buggy ride in Huacachina included
- Bus ride back to designated hotel in Lima at the end of your tour
2. Oltursa bus from Lima to Huacachina:
If you want to stay in Huacachina for a few days and are willing to plan your own excursions, a much cheaper option is Oltursa. This is how we got from Lima to Huacachina.
Oltursa is a local bus company, but don’t assume that means a complicated, busy public bus terminal and hours of standing on a small, crowded bus. It’s really much easier and more comfortable than intercity busses!
Oltursa bus company also offers luxury bus rides around Peru, but with less pomp than PeruHop. For only 55-75 soles (depending on time of day) you can reserve a comfortable reclining seat on the upper deck of a tourist bus with auto-playing movies, a bathroom, and complimentary snack and drink service.
The downside of going to Huacachina from Lima by bus with Oltursa is that the agents generally don’t speak English and you’ll need to find your own way from Ica to Huacachina (but that isn’t hard- they can help you find a taxi!)
Arrive at one of their two bus stations in Lima (designated on your bus ticket) 45 minutes prior to take off. Once you arrive you’ll likely find a short line to drop off your luggage at a modest luggage scanner. An attendant will check your ticket, tag your bag, and leave it to be loaded onto the correct bus. You are not asked to pay extra for luggage. (We were a little skeptical about the safety of our luggage on the bus, but all three small suitcases arrived in Ica with no problems and no disturbances!)
The bus stations include tidy bathrooms, chairs, wireless internet, and often a snack stand to help you pass the time.
The busses are more comfortable than we expected! Each passenger can choose their assigned seat when buying a ticket, which reclines 45-degrees and include a blanket and window shades. The ride only takes 4 hours, so settle in for a nap and you’ll be in Ica in no time!
Ica is the closest main town to the Huacachina oasis. If you use a public bus from Lima it will drop you off in Ica, so you’ll be responsible for getting to Huacachina on your own.
Don’t be overwhelmed- getting to Huacachina from Ica is easy!
Once you get your luggage from the bus you’ll most likely be greeted by taxi drivers waiting at the Ica bus station. For around 10 soles you can be driven right to your Huacachina hostel in a matter of minutes!
Another popular option to get from Ica to Huacachina is by motor taxi. Motor taxis are the Peruvian version of tuk-tuks, which carry passengers of the back of a three-wheeled semi-enclosed vehicle. Motor taxis may not seem safe, but traffic between Ica and Huacachina is low and the route is direct, so the opporutnity for accidents is low. The cost from Ica to Huacachia should be around 5 soles.
Best things to do in Huacachina
Once you’re in Huacachina there aren’t tons of things to do, honestly. In fact, you can easily book a one-day tour to Huacachina from Lima and fit in all the best things to do in Huacachina in just a few hours. In fact, this Huacachina tour includes a side trip to the Ballestas Islands at the Paracas Bay before you head into Huacachin!
If you’re looking for what to do in Huacachina the main activities involve the mega sand dunes in the area. You can book a 2-hour Huacachina tour of riding a dune buggy, sand boarding, and sand sledding in advance of your trip, or simply approach the upper landing of sand dunes beyond the lake where you’ll find tons of dune buggies and drivers filling their tours.
You can also climb the massive Huacachina sand dunes on your own during cooler hours, enjoying the views of the Peruvian desert, the Huacachina oasis, and the neighboring town of Ica.
You’ll want to stay off the sand from 9:00 am- 4:00 pm as it will be too hot to climb, which makes you available for day tours from Huacachina. From Huacachina you can take a helicopter ride to view the Nazca Lines, to the Ballestas Islands off the Pacific coast, or to local wineries.
One of the best things to do in Huacachina is to simply relax and enjoy the incredible surroundings. To be in such a unique place can be great for the soul, so don’t waste the opportunity to feel like a small part of something much bigger.
Other fun things to do in Peru:
Check out these other travel guides to have the best Peru vacation possible!
Huacachina Peru is an incredible place to visit. In fact, we consider it one of the top places we’ve seen in all our time traveling abroad! I hope you don’t pass up the opporutnity to visit the Peru oasis, even if it’s just as a Huacachina group tour or day trip from Lima!